Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review: Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook

Summary: The Clinton St. Baking Company is one of the hottest brunch spots in a city obsessed with brunch. A tiny thirty-two-seat eatery on Manhattan's trendy Lower East Side, the restaurant draws long lines of customers who come from far and wide to sample fresh-baked goods, hearty omelets, sugar-cured bacon, and light-as-air pancakes with maple butter.

In the
Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook, owners DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg share more than 100 treasured recipes that have made their restaurant a sensation. Learn the secret to their house-made buttermilk biscuits and tomato jam, irresistible muffins and scones, delicious soups and sandwiches, and their decadent, eye-catching desserts. Helpful techniques, like Neil's
patented omelet "flip and tuck," and gorgeous color photographs throughout will have readers cooking like pros in no time, and sharing the delicious results.-- Little, Brown

I wasn't familiar with the Clinton St. Baking Company prior to receiving a copy of the new cookbook, CLINTON ST. BAKING COMPANY COOKBOOK: BREAKFAST, BRUNCH & BEYOND FROM NEW YORK'S FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT by DeDe Lahman & Neil Kleinberg. Evidently, this restaurant is very well known in New York City and has been awarded such honors as Best Breakfast/Brunch and Best Pancakes. All I know is that the CLINTON ST. BAKING COMPANY COOKBOOK is filled with some wonderful recipes.

In fact, there were so many recipes that I wanted to try from this book that I eventually gave up marking the pages. Based on the cover and the title, I was assuming that most of the recipes would be dessert-like. While there were sections on desserts and muffins and scones, the majority of this cookbook was filled with actual recipes that I could make for family meals. I guess you could say that I was pleasantly surprised!

Not only does this cookbook have over 100 great-sounding recipes, but it is also filled with gorgeous photographs -- and by now, you know how much I love pictures of the recipes. The cookbook is divided into the following sections: Biscuits; Muffins & Scones; Eggs, Eggs, Eggs; Pancakes; Soups; The Sandwich King & Queen; Fried Chicken; Sides; Condiments; Dessert; and Drinks. I can assure you that there was at least one recipe per chapter that appealed to me. I'm dying to try some of the pancake and fried chicken recipes since the restaurant is known for these items.

I did have a difficult time choosing just one recipe to try -- so I decided to make two! The first one I made was for the Granola. I have never made granola before, but I do know that homemade granola is so much better than the low-fat type that I buy in a cereal box. Plus, I love mixing it with some plain Greek yogurt for a healthy breakfast or lunch. When I first read the recipe, I was a bit surprised by how easy it sounded. But who am I to question quick and easy recipes? I made it in about 10 minutes or so and then baked it for about 20 minutes. I couldn't believe how delicious it was -- and it really looks and tastes like granola.! Another benefit to this recipe is that there are many ways to modify it. You can use different nuts (I used almonds and pecans) as well as different varieties of dried fruit (I used dried cranberries.) The only drawback to this granola recipe is that it definitely isn't low-fat, and I find that it keeps calling my name!

The second recipe that I tried was for the Creamy Cheese Grits. Now I might offend a Southerner or two with this statement, but I'm not a big fan of grits. If I'm being honest, I really don't like them at all. However, I thought that this particular recipe sounded delicious since it was made with whole milk and loads of cheese. And guess what? This recipe for Cheesy Grits was amazing! I might have to reconsider my opinion that I don't like grits because I loved this version. Of course, this recipe wasn't exactly low-fat either. I guess it goes to show that if you add another fat and cheese to any item, they will be delicious!

Creamy Cheese Grits

Serves 4

2 cups whole milk
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup Quaker Quick Grits
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

1. Scald the milk (heat but do not boil) and seasonings in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium-high heat until the milk is hot to the touch and starts to foam around the sides but doesn't boil.

2. Whisk in the grits and cook on medium heat until smooth, about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Check for seasoning and serve warm.

I don't make it to New York very often (outside of my yearly BEA trip); however, I just might have to add a visit to the Clinton St. Baking Company next time I'm in town. Based on my love affair with this cookbook, I have a feeling that I'm going to have a difficult time figuring out what to order!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this cookbook.
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Beth F said...

I haven't heard of Clinton Baking Company either or this cookbook. Tea or breakfast in NYC next year???

rhapsodyinbooks said...

That is so funny you picked cheesy grits, because whenever we go to Chicago, I beg and plead with my husband to go downtown for brunch PRECISELY so we can get cheesy grits! (And the best thing is, he's not interested in them, so I don't have to share!) Thanks for printing this recipe!

bermudaonion said...

How can you not like grits? LOL I love this cookbook too, so I think a trip to Clinton St. Baking Company is definitely in order. I made the pumpkin cheesecake and everyone loved it.

Veronica said...

Grits! I love grits. My family is all from the South so I grew up eating grits and it's definitely best when super cheesy. Also good is just piling the rest of your breakfast into the grits. Eggs? Bacon? Sausage? Throw it all in the bowl and eat with a spoon. I realize this is not yum for everyone, but to me it's SO GOOD. :)